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Humor – Marnie-style (it is not for everyone)

I roasted a chicken and a half with vegetables on Sunday evening. 

Being the ever-on-top-of –it working mother that I am, I had dutifully read my Real Simple magazine, gotten new cooking ideas and recipes, made my grocery list and ran through the store at breakneck speed so I could get back in time for Jay to go pick up our Phish tickets for this coming Saturday’s show. I wanted to cook a nice Sunday dinner, especially since Greta was home.

I had cleaned the kitchen, poured a glass of pinot grigio and began to cook.  I was cooking enough for dinner that night, dinner the next night and lunch leftovers for me for the next couple of days at work.

I was busy. Things were being cleaned and cooked and prepped in a small space at a high rate of multitasking speed…and there was that pinot.

For reasons I will not get into, I was a bit distracted and emotional.  I had also fielded a couple of calls from my emotional and high strung mother while cooking said meals and was even more distracted than cooking for 5 people and 4 meals would have normally been – and that would have been hard enough.

When it came time to take the chicken out and check for doneness, I could not find the meat thermometer. 

I am horrible about timing chicken.  In an effort to make sure I do not serve my family salmonella on a plate, I over cook the chicken every time.  Then I am disappointed when I cut into that chicken and realize with the first bite that I did it again and, therefore, my efforts for a perfectly cooked meal were in vain. After all that work. Dammit.

So I have begun to rely on the thermometer.  Once that baby says my chicken has reached 165 degrees, it is out of the oven to rest.  I will not over cook the chicken.  I will not over cook the chicken.

But, when I tried to find the thermometer I had specifically laid out on the counter in preparation, it was not there.  I had just had it.  Greta had seen it on the counter as well. Still it was nowhere to be found. 

After a few minutes search, I realized I was wasting too much time looking for it and cut into the chicken to check for doneness.  It wasn’t. So I put it back into the oven and, after thinking about it, decided that the 10 minutes Jay had suggested could not be long enough and I doubled it to 20 minutes.  (Ensuring later, of course, that the chicken would, once again, be over cooked.) 

I moved on to the next step in the recipe – prepping the maple Dijon sauce. As I got the Dijon mustard out of the refrigerator, my mother called. again.  I listened to whatever it was she’d forgotten to tell me when we were on the phone 30 minutes before as I shook the mustard. I sat it down and checked the vegetables. 

Realizing they were almost overdone, I pulled out the roasted vegetables and poured them up into a corning ware dish and covered them with foil while I waited the last few minutes for the chicken (to over cook).  

I got off the phone with my mother and got out the maple syrup and a bowl.  I went to get the mustard and wisk.  No mustard on the counter.  Or in the frige.  Or in the pantry.  Or next to the sink. 

Where the hell was the mustard, dammit???

I had just had it. 

Of course, I had also just had the meat thermometer as well.  And no one could find it, either.  Jay had come into the kitchen and looked; Greta had come into the kitchen and looked.  It was gone.

And now the mustard.  AAARrrrrgggghhhh.

Jay, hearing my frustration and frantic search for the mustard, came into the kitchen.  With a “what is it this time?” and a cursory look around the kitchen, Jay helpfully suggested that I use the creole mustard he found in the frige instead of the Dijon mustard whose whereabouts I was currently losing my mind over. 

No.

No, no, no.  I was not using the creole mustard.  It was not like I had not checked the frige before I went to the grocery store and made sure we had the ingredients I needed to make the recipe.  Had I screwed up and not had it, ok. I would use a substitute mustard, as much as I would have hated doing it.  But I had the right mustard.  Hell, I had HAD IT IN MY HAND shaking it up not 10 minutes ago.  I would only need to use the creole mustard if we did not HAVE Dijon.  And, unless someone came into the kitchen and DELIBERATELY took the Dijon mustard and threw it outside, we HAD Dijon mustard. 

I AM NOT CRAZY.  It was here.  It was right here. I was on the phone with Mother.  I took it out of the frige.  I shook it up so the watery stuff that settles would not drip into my dish. 

I put it right HERE. I slapped the counter in the spot where I knew I had set the mustard a few minutes before. 

Or had I?  Had I imagined it?

Jay told me I was overreacting.  He told me it was not there anymore and no one knew what I had done with it.  We checked cabinets, the freezer, drawers.  I got more and more upset because the stranger the places we looked, the worse I felt.  If we did find the Dijon mustard in the freezer, then I am a lot more scatterbrained and out of control than even I thought.  And I hate that about myself.  I hate being scatterbrained and high strung.   I want desperately to be one of those calm, in control moms who have all the tools and time everything out – and never over cook the chicken.    

I was on the verge of tears.

Have you ever seen the movie Midnight Lace? It is a Doris Day, Rex Harrison 1960s thriller.  It has been a while for me, but from what I remember it is about a married woman who starts to doubt her own sanity.  Things start happening she cannot explain. She gets death threats by phone.  Then notes that disappear. When she tries to show proof, there is none to be found.  Her loving husband and best friend stand staunchly beside her as she descends into madness and hysteria.

I am pretty sure in one scene the husband takes his nutty, hysterical wife by the shoulders and tells her she is overreacting.  

Only the husband and best friend are having an affair and have orchestrated the whole thing so when the poor wife winds up dead it is not from them murdering her (which they fully intend on doing) but from her tragically taking her own life due to her stedily increasing paranoia.  Their mutual grief (and the conveniently dead wife’s inheritance) is the basis for their growing love and affection leading to their marriage and happily ever after.

Apparently, Ezra has seen this movie.  And understands it well enough to use their tactics to get rid of me. 

While Jay was in the kitchen holding me by the shoulders telling me I was freaking out for no apparent cause and it was just mustard, for heaven’s sake, who cares which one you use, Greta took Ezra into the living room and asked him where he put the mustard. 

Just as I was trying to tearfully explain to Jay that I felt like I was losing my mind and I had already been upset and THIS WAS NOT HELPING, Ezra showed Greta where in the pantry he had hidden the Dijon fucking mustard. I never even saw him sneak into the kitchen, the little rascal.

I understand that I had Ezra when I was 37 and that means I will be old, demented and crusty when he is in his 30s. I just never thought he’d have the wherewithal to start laying the groundwork for my incompetency hearing this far in advance.

He never would fess up about the thermometer though. 

Greta found that under her bag in the living room the next day. 

I am going to have to keep an eye on this one.

Being that this weekend is Father’s Day, I’ve had some shopping to do.  Like every woman in my situation, I struggle with what to do for Father’s Day  – and I have three of them in my life. 

Ezra’s dad and I are divorced but we have managed (with lots of soul-searching and knock-down-drag-out text fights over about a year) to come to terms with the fact that he and I, along with Jay, are raising this child together and we all love Ezra and have his best interests at heart.  We get along very well now, especially for people in our situation.  I am grateful for that.

In that spirit, he very nicely got me a Mother’s Day gift that he let Ezra pick out. So last night it was my turn.

Ezra and I went to dinner and then went to a collegiate sports store to get his dad’s gift. 

Another thing you have to understand about me and my family and our Southerness is that we are an Auburn family. 

Big time. 

My dad went there, Jay graduated from there, Jay’s little brother is there now.

I was raised to be an Auburn fan from birth.  And I will do the same for my children. 

This is a BIG deal down here in the South.  The SEC rules the roost.  The other day, my brother posted a simple, “100 Days!” on his Facebook page and I immediately knew that it was exactly that long till the first Game Day of the 2012 season (it is down to the 80s by now! Yay! I cannot wait!)

Ezra’s dad, on the other hand, is a graduate of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. Yes, the very Texas A&M who left the Big whatever conference and are coming to the SEC this year.  And playing one of their initial SEC games against Auburn in Auburn. And being that the Corps is the oldest military student organization in the country and Ezra’s dad was in the Corps band, which never missed a game his entire college career, he is a bit of an A&M fan in his own right. 

Never during the years I was married to Ezra’s dad did this become a real issue. I will watch any college football and as Auburn and A&M were in different conferences they never met up on the field. 

Until this year.  So this is gonna be fun. 

I have already done my best to inoculate Ezra from his father’s A&M influence.  He has a myriad of Auburn paraphernalia from the pennant hanging in his room to pom-poms, jackets, hats and other such items. 

More importantly he watches the games with us.  Mostly because he has no choice, but we also try to explain it to him and play football with him.  You know, make it fun and teach him.  It will be a whole family deal. Sawyer already has Auburn gear to grow into (he wore his first AU shirt in the hospital when he was born – you get the idea?). 

It is a full indoctrination program we have going. And Ezra’s dad has both noted and commented on this on several occasions. 

Despite that, and with full recognition of the fact that I am such a big person spirit of thanks and Father’s Day, I bought Ezra’s dad an A&M flag he could fly outside his home with pride for A&M’s first season in the SEC.  He will come to understand why the SEC is the most respected conference in the country and he will, eventually – provided A&M can hang – enjoy that same pride. 

But a part of me was a bit concerned about purchasing something that could be used to undermine the Auburn training Ezra has had up till this point.  So when Ezra asked very sweetly if he could get a little plastic Auburn helmet for two bucks at the register, I smiled and bought it for him.

And this morning when I dropped him off at school, he wanted to take the little helmet in for an additional show-and-tell. Hm, imagine that. 

“Can I take the Auburn helmet to my Daddy’s house, Mommy?” he asked innocently as he got out of the car.

“You sure can, love. I got it just for you to keep at Daddy’s house, ok?  War Eagle!!”

“War Eagle, Mommy!”

We high-fived.

That’s right Ezra.

Exactly.

I was having a rough time this morning. 

Any morning that starts out with a home invasion perpetrated by something with wings, antennae and a stinger is just not going to be a good morning (in my tiny bathroom with the door closed while I am brushing my teeth, no less).  Jay did his duty as man of the house and killed the intruder.  (The little bastard stung both Sawyer and the nanny yesterday.  I didn’t feel too sorry for him while the bug spray killed him, just so you know.) I don’t like bugs, flying or otherwise, with a special hatred and dread of roaches (a big thanks to Stephen King and Creepshow’s “They’re Creeping Up on You!” for that). 

Generally speaking, though, I don’t mind critters.  They are skittish of me and I of them and that is fine.  It also means that they (and I) keep our distances.  We may both live in the North Georgia woods, but I would rather catch a glimpse of them, not come face to face.  (Besides, if I had a Carrie Bradshaw hissy fit every time I saw a squirrel, I wouldn’t be able to walk out my front door.  And, let’s face it, I am from South Alabama.  We don’t have hissy fits over critters down here, so man up, city girls!)

As a matter of fact, Jay has taken to feeding the many, many birds we have living in and surrounding our yard.  We have found evidence of egg hatchings of at least one robin’s egg and another more generic little white egg (at least I hope they hatched instead of being some other critter’s dinner – says the woman who has a boiled egg for breakfast everyday).  I hear them all the time and love it.  I also love the evening light show the fireflies put on every evening. 

So this morning after Jay had rid our house of the stinging little bastard, he noticed a rabbit in the front yard.  He picked Ezra up so he could see it out the kitchen window.  It was cute. Ezra was impressed with the rabbit’s speed (of course – that child is going to be hell on wheels at 17, I’m afraid).  We had a little discussion about wild animals and how they are scared of us and can bite, etc., and how they run too fast for us to catch because they are scared of people.  Yes, all people, not just bad people.

I have probably mentioned that Ezra is a talker.  He also has a wonderful four-year-old’s imagination.  So as frustrated as I was for the encroaching of wildlife into my otherwise pristine human home, I got over it and allowed Ezra to both educate and entertain me on our way to his school.

For a bit of background, you have to understand that Ezra occasionally mentions “my sister, Abby.” The problem with this is that Ezra only has one sister and her name is Greta (my daughter).  His father has no other children.  Ezra’s dad is not married, either, so I assumed months ago when this first came up that he had introduced Ezra to a new girlfriend.  I waited for Ezra’s dad to tell me about her, something he eventually always does with a new love interest. 

Not this time. When I finally asked Ezra’s dad about “my sister Abby,” he told me he had been meaning to ask me about it.  None of us have a clue who Ezra is talking about.  We don’t know an Abby, and there is certainly not one who is his sister.  It is a mystery because he insists he has been to her house.

And he brings her up all the time. At least once a week. 

Today after seeing that rabbit in the front yard Ezra told me a whole story on the way to school.

He said the rabbit was lost.  I thought Ezra meant from its rabbit family and tried to explain that it was probably a mommy or daddy rabbit out looking for food for his baby rabbits.  But no, Ezra did not like my idea. This was not a responsible bunny out foraging for his bunny family.

He had something better in mind. (I put the Beatles 1 album on the in background, because Ezra was obviously not in the mood to allow me to listen to Morning Joe today)

Ezra sits back and tells me that it is his rabbit that he had at his “sister Abby’s” house in a cage.  He used to feed it and pet it and hold it.  It was brown and could run really, really, really fast.  But one day it got out and got away and got lost.  And now it is at Mommy’s house in the yard.  But it is still lost. 

He then changed the subject to the fast trucks on the road and how they go faster than the rabbit – and faster than my car.  But Lightening McQueen is even faster. 

Then he talked about the rain and asked where the sun was.  I explained it was still there but the clouds with the rain falling out of them were in the way and we just could not see the sun. 

And then he surprised me even more by saying, “When the rain and water disappears, it is called vaporation.”

I was impressed.  I told him I didn’t know that he knew about evaporation.

Then he told me, “No, Mommy, let me teach you.  Say ‘Vap.’”

“VAP”

“Very good, Mommy.  Now say, ‘Oration.’”

“Oration”

“See, Mommy, ‘VAPoration.’ It means the rain is disappeared. Did I teach you, Mommy?”

Yes, Ezra, as a matter of fact you did.  Thank you.  I needed it.

I am not a very good decision maker.  I know people who are and I admire them for their decisiveness. However, as much as I wish I could, I cannot count myself among them.

That does not mean that I don’t make decisions (it is not exactly something you can avoid doing), nor is it that I make bad decisions (although that has certainly happened over the years), but I have a problem knowing when enough is enough when it comes to extrapolating the possible outcomes of the choices. 

I can get paralyzed by the possibilities.

Once a decision is made, I can follow through without much of a problem, but up until that point I can worry myself sick and silly imagining.

Except on certain occasions.

There have been a few times in my life that I have made a snap decision without thinking much about it. 

I have been ruminating for a few months on doing something that, on the face of it, seems like a good idea. I have even convinced myself of it.

Except.

You see, I had this decision to make years ago as well.  I had it offered up to me on a silver platter once….and without the issues that would make it difficult now. 

I turned it down flat. 

And I was flat wrong

The door of opportunity opened and I slammed it shut.

I should have taken what was offered to me and run with it. But I had such an aversion and a visceral reaction to the idea that I immediately thought, “There is no way I am doing that.”

I did not weigh the possibilities and benefits.  I did not think about how far ahead it could get me.  I did not think about the fact that I may never get the opportunity again.  And there may have been a few self-esteem and emotional issues holding me back, about which I was not fully aware at the time (I was 24, give me a break).  Ones that didn’t allow me to either recognize my own potential or maximize the opportunities given to me.  Had I been confident, thoughtful and more strategic at the time, I would have jumped at the chance. 

As a matter of fact, looking back on myself at 24 from 17 years into the future, I realize what an idiot I was.  If Greta is ever offered a similar opportunity at that age and turns it down for the reasons I did, I will have a fit.  I will do everything I possibly can to change her mind. 

No one did that for me.  And, on the one hand, I wish someone had. At least then.

But on the other, not so much.

Because the visceral reaction my younger self had to the opportunity back then is the very reason I am choosing not to pursue it all these years later. 

In the last 17 years I have learned a lot. 

I have learned about responsibility, duty, trust, honesty and work ethic.

I have learned about myself, both my strengths and shortcomings …and hopefully how to both accentuate and mitigate them.

But there is something that tends to get squashed down as you learn all of the above. 

Your inner voice.

Your desires and spontaneity. 

Your id and ego get pushed around by the superego so much and so often that we not only ignore them completely, but we vilify them for wanting.

Or…NOT wanting.

We learn to ignore the part of us that reacts and says, “I don’t want to.”

Ezra says that sometimes. Depending on my mood and the situation, the answer to it is either (1) “I didn’t ask you if you wanted to, I told you to.  Now go.” (usually used if I tell him to pick up his room or eat his vegetables and that was his response); or (2) “I know you don’t. I don’t want to either, but we have to.  So come on and let’s get it over with.” (used to commiserate not wanting to go to school or get shots or the like, but still teaching that some things have to be done no matter what we want).

As we get older, we think more in terms of what I should be doing instead of what we want to do. 

How many mothers can sit down for an hour during the day, shut out the world to read 50 Shades of Grey?

Ok.

How about while knowing that the dishes need doing or dinner needs cooking or laundry needs washing?

Not so many, uh?

Most of us would start thinking about all the things we should be doing and allow that to trump what we want to do. I know it is a small scale example, but Pavolv didn’t have to use the Liberty Bell and a fillet mignon, either, now did he?

Given a few decades of that, it is not surprising that we over extend ourselves and stop listening to the little voice inside that simply says, “I don’t want to” and get bullied by the one that screams, “I didn’t ask what you wanted, now did I?”

But I am not going to do that. I am not going to be pushed into something I don’t want, even if I am the one doing the bullying. 

I am going to believe that the reason I don’t want to do this is because there is a better way, another option, an opportunity that I can’t see yet coming down the pike. One that will be infinitely better for me and mine than the one I am passing on. 

I cannot believe that at two different times in my life I have been presented with the same idea and that both times my gut tells me no… and then that there is no reason for it.   

There has to be another way to get where I want to go.  A way that suits me and who I am.  I don’t know what it is and I don’t know how to even figure out what it might be.  But I have to trust that there is a path for me that gets the same – or better – rewards. 

Gulp. 

Holy cow, I had better be right about this.

Have you ever met anyone who is just a rotten person?

I am not talking about a child molester or ax murderer, mind you. That’s evil and there is a difference.

I am talking about a regular, every day, run-of-the-mill person – who also just happens to have a character flaw rendering them either a bitch or an asshole, as if it were truly no fault of their own.  They cannot help being negative, soul-sucking people lacking in basic human traits of empathy and compassion as they were apparently just born (or raised) that way and simply cannot help it.

This is the kind of person whose personal agenda is more important than the welfare of those they say they love – to the point they will justify and rationalize any actions, no matter how despicable, to callously (and, I suspect, self-satisfyingly) have their way.

Love, decency, kindness and respect are not things these people understand.

They operate on the idea that life is first and foremost about being right, even when “right” requires a good deal of “spinning of the facts” to make them “right.”

They are spiteful and vindictive people who are most satisfied making rules, passing judgment and handing out punishments…regardless of whether or not they have the actual or moral authority to do so.

You have heard of the kind, right?  Hell, I’d bet your know a couple.

They are the ones who are quick to blame the victim.

[A woman is raped outside a bar?  Well, sure, it is awful and no man has the right… but if she’d been a good girl and not some slut alone at a bar, it never would have happened, now would it?]

They are the ones who are apparently on the inside track with God, too.

[A tornado hit your house?  Awful.  Of course, if you were in God’s good graces and went to (the right) church and were not such a pathetic sinner, He might have spared your house. You need to be more Christ-like (like me) and things like that wouldn’t happen to you.]

Hmmm, sounds a lot like Pat Robertson, doesn’t it? Funny how those apparently most able (or presumptuous) to speak for God seem to have very few qualities that could be described as “godly,” isn’t it?

I can readily admit that there are people who I do not like (obviously). I can even admit there are a few who just don’t like me.  We all know that there are some people you just cannot get along with and have to do your best to tolerate.

Maybe it is your boss’ secretary who always seems to have eaten something sour and has a nasty attitude – never passes on your work promptly or messages accurately – yet you are stuck dealing with her on a regular (and unpleasant) basis.

Maybe it is your actual boss you have to put up with the same way you have to deal with your 4-year-old’s temper tantrums (but is not near as cute or loveable as your 4 year old – and you cannot put them in time out).  [To be clear, my boss is great and in NO way am I describing him, I promise]

Maybe you are lucky and it is just the dour, snitty person at the DMV you only have to deal with once a year.

Maybe you and someone in your family have a tenuous relationship making family gatherings terse and difficult.

Or maybe your ex-sister-in-law is a holier-than-thou, self-righteous, know-it-all whose vindictiveness and spiteful nature cannot even be tempered by her supposed love for her own children.

Or, you know, whatever your particular set of circumstances happen to be.

So, let me give you (and myself) a bit of free advice for dealing with such people.

1. Don’t take it personally – especially if they do. Realize that those that don’t like you are going to be out there and, at least with some of them, there may be nothing you can do about it.   So someone doesn’t like you.  Big deal.  Fuck em.  Go hang out with the people who do like you and have a blast. Besides, unless you are one of the people I am describing, you probably have a lot more people who love and like you than don’t.

2. Maintain your self-respect. Lowering yourself to the level some of these people will stoop to will not help.  Defend yourself vigorously, of course, especially if you are being wronged or taken advantage of; don’t be shy about that.  But always keep in mind, jumping into a pig sty and rolling around with the pig will leave you just as nasty, smelly and disgusting as the pig.  What’s worse, though, is that the pig won’t know any better.  But you will.

3.  Just do what is right and let go of the outcome. While watching those who have wronged you to finally get their comeuppance can be gratifying, you should get your pleasure in life from the wonderful and positive things that abound rather than waiting for the downfall of others. Life is too short for that shit. Then, when God or karma does get to them, it will be like a little surprise gift – unexpected and, therefore, even more enjoyable.

And, finally, as a further public service, I will give you some words.  If you are unsure whether someone qualifies as a soul-sucking bitch, try this simple little test.  If you can honestly use (more than) 3 of these terms to describe the person, you probably should do everything possible to excise them from your life. At the very least keep your distance.  There is no proof that it could rub off on you – but no sense risking it, right?

Vindictive, spiteful, vengeful, negative, judgmental, self-righteous, sanctimonious, pious, hypocritical, hypercritical, pharisaic, smug, hateful, self-serving, self-satisfied, snide, superficial, artificial, duplicitous, moralistic, arrogant, contemptuous, haughty, disdainful, divisive, proud, rude, hoity-toity, heartless, obtuse, insensitive, foolish, shallow, neurotic….

I looked at the girl as I got on the elevator.  I supposed she was beautiful.  She was certainly dressed the part of the socialite granddaughter of a talented and, in many circles, famous man – complete with suede platform wedges at least eight inches high bought, most assuredly, at Neiman Marcus. 

The man in the elevator with her had already noticed what I had not.  She was holding balloons and remnants of a birthday cake.  He congratulated her.  And she quickly thanked him, countering – proudly and without hesitation – that it was her 25th birthday today. 

I looked at her and thought about when I was 25. 

I remembered that year vividly.  It was the year Lee died

Greta was 4.  An adorable ponytailed t-ball player. 

Kind of like Ezra is now. 

I remarked to the girl that 25 was a good year.  She agreed.  And she then proceeded to tell me how she felt really old now; how she and some friends were going out celebrating tonight; how she was getting up in years and needed to stop smoking a pack a day soon.  You know, start taking care of herself now that she was getting “up there.”

Her voice was a bit raspy.  I imagined she did a good deal of partying. I had heard her in the elevators before.  She was no quiet, demur socialite.  She had a mouth on her… an opinionated one.  I imagined she had been a handful in private school. 

At 25 I had a kid and still managed to have my share of fun.  I could not imagine what it would have been like if, instead of being a single mom raising my child, going to school and working, I was single, living in a kick-ass apartment in downtown Atlanta , had a brand spanking new college degree (on Daddy’s dime, of course), a job at the family company and a fabulous night planned  for my 25th birthday at a club where I would wear $325 stilettoes and be hit on constantly. 

For about a minute I thought how fun that would be. 

But then I remembered that this privileged 25 year-old’s life would pale in comparison to my life at 40.

I had married the man of my dreams and started our family together this (my 40th) year. 

I have replaced waking up hungover and alone on a Saturday or Sunday…

… with waking up in bed every morning with the three most amazing guys on the planet.  Of course, one may have his foot in my face and the other his elbow in my ribs, while the 3rd is waaaay on the other side of a king size bed snoring….. but it is still Heaven.  For the 20 minutes I am awake and they are all still asleep, at least.  Then Ezra’s eyes open and his tongue starts wagging. 

I have replaced constant running conversations with girlfriends about possibilities with this guy or what that guy thinks about our almost hooking up 3 weeks ago but then he only called once like 6 days ago and I am going crazy thinking he is just blowing me off….

…with actually having a conversations with my amazing, talented and funny husband about everything from our plan upon winning the Mega Millions, to issues Ezra has been having at school and Sawyer’s physical therapy… to laughing our asses off about some silly, but hilarious, joke dreamed up halfway through the second (large) bottle of wine at 11:30 on a Sunday evening, how business is going… and where we are going together as a family.

I have replaced bars, dancing to live bands and shots…

…with NOLA jazz (the Loose Marbles) in the kitchen while cooking, drinking wine, and, on occasion, impromptu dances with Ezra and/or holding Sawyer until we are all three laughing and winded in the dining room.  [This is not to say that is totally behind me, however.  When I am IN New Orleans, I will certainly be hearing live music somewhere on Frenchman… more than likely there will also be shots involved.] 

There are other wonderful perks as well…

Last night, while Jay worked, Sawyer was the perfect gentlemen patiently watching a chick flick with me on the couch.  He snuggled up and gave plenty of love and kisses, while both cooing and talking to me here and there – but also sitting quietly and letting me watch the cheesy ending where the girl got the guy but didn’t compromise herself or whatever.  When it was over, he did not once comment on the silliness of the movie. He was the perfect date. 

Tonight Ezra will run to see me when I pick him up from school.  He will want me to read him a book at bedtime.  He will spontaneously tell me I am beautiful and want to sit close to me and just BE together. He will tell me, “Mommy, I you best friend!” (that is, if it has been a good day, it is just as likely that he will say, “I not talking to you, Mommy!” if it has been a bad day…the difference between a tired and hungry toddler and a well-rested and fed toddler)

And then there is quiet time with Jay while children sleep. 

Yeah, that 25 year old doesn’t have a clue what she is missing. 

I wouldn’t change places with her for anything.  My life is too good.

And, oh, how I do love the weekend.  This weekend is going to be extra good in that it will be spent at home.  There’s no place like home.  There’s no place like home. 

There are things coming up over the next few weekends, but this one will be fairly quiet. [Even though I do have one social engagement for which I am totally unprepared.  Gulp.]

Last weekend we took the quarterly tour of Alabama. Jay’s mother is 2 hours or so away from Atlanta in central Alabama.  My parents are a further 2 hours south of Jay’s mom is south Alabama. I took last Friday off and we went on the whirlwind trip to Alabama with the boys, checking off all the extended family duties. 

It was hectic.  It was fun. It was exhausting.

Ezra got time with his Da, who he could play with exclusively for a week straight and never get tired. My dad is the best playmate ever, allowing the kids to take the lead, but still maintaining a manner of control by expecting certain behaviors (sportsmanship, manners, etc) during play.  I have heard him more than once say, “If you are going to act like that, I am not going to play anymore.”  Works like a charm for him. 

Ezra also got to experience toy overload at Jay’s mother’s house and get to play by himself.  He does not appreciate that like he should now. Pretty soon Sawyer will be running around after him wanting to do everything Ezra does  – and Ezra will long for the days he could play in peace without a little brother constantly at his heels.  Jay and I both understand this as we were oldest children with little brothers 3-4 years younger than us.  Unfortunately, there is no way to explain to Ezra how much he will miss playing alone once Sawyer becomes ambulatory.  Eh.  It is just one of those oldest child things that you have to live with forever as a consequence of our birth order. 

Sawyer got to soak in the love, attention and admiration of two grandmothers and my aunt.  He was like a 4 month old piglet in slop.  He is smiling socially now and laughing out loud if you catch him in the right mood.  He is watching Ezra with a mixture of fascination and trepidation as it seems he understands more than Ezra does how much bigger Ezra is than him and how Ezra does not seem to recognize either his own size or strength.  Jay and I try to monitor them constantly and make sure Ezra is being gentle and is not endangering Sawyer (which does happen on occasion and we have to be extremely vigilant in supervising them), but to a certain degree Sawyer is going to have to learn to buck up and speak up if he wants to be heard and have his way.  Such is the nature of being a younger brother. 

Jay and I took the boys by my aunt and uncle’s farm in rural south Alabama. They were a hit.  My Aunt Maug loved holding Sawyer and trying to fill Ezra to the brim with any manner of food stuffs she had from Valentine candy to grapes and pecan pie.  Ezra was thrilled by this, of course.  He also got to talk non-stop and have my aunt and uncle hang on his every word.  [Jay and I have to alternate between encouraging Ezra to express himself properly and wondering exasperatedly when he is going to nap or otherwise give us five sequential minutes of silence.  We don’t get 5 sequential moments of silence from Ezra too often, which can be both adorable and exasperating at the same time.  Other times it is like an icepick to the brain if he is in a foul mood and/or is both talkative AND defiant]

There was even time for my brother and (most) of his family to come by so we could both be at my parents’ house at the same time. This meant there were cousins running around playing and babies to be held and “awwwed” over.   It was hectic, but a good time was had by all, as they say.

But going out of town last weekend meant that I was not at home last weekend, which, in turn, means that none of the chores around the house got done.  You know the kind of working mom chores I am talking about – meal planning and shopping for the week; sweeping and mopping.  And all the other chores which working and being out of the house for 10 hours a day get pushed to the weekend.

BUT.  I also missed out of something far more important than the household chores.

I missed weekly recuperation time. 

And (I say a prayer of thanks as I type this sentence) THAT is what I am most looking forward to this weekend: lying in bed and dozing; hours of mindless tv; cooking and eating delicious food [Without having to make sure it is a toddler friendly menu – Ezra is at his dad’s this weekend.  Sawyer is a one food kind of guy – the kind that comes out of a bottle and works fine with Mommy and Daddy’s lazy weekend schedule still. Man, am I going to hate it when that changes]; doing girly maintenance things like shopping at Ulta, deep conditioning my hair and getting a pedicure (YAY!); and a few other things that happen to be a bit too private for this blog.  (Ah-Hem)

So if last weekend was the weekend to be social and maintain our relationships with our families, this weekend is the weekend to pull in and pull focus.  It is the weekend to smell the flowers, stand with our noses right up against the tree and hone in on that which is most important. 

While I will miss Ezra this weekend, next weekend will Ezra’s t-ball games will start and we will have family time of another kind, focused around the kids and getting out with them. And I think Ezra’s dad has weekend plans that include the circus or zoo.  Ezra will be beside himself excited about that, I assure you.

I love Spring.  And soon it will arrive in its green glory and pull us out of hibernation.  But I don’t think I am going to mind another weekend of quiet reflection, respite, recuperation and preparation.

I am looking forward to it.